Chicago Youth in Music Festival and Mocrep: Reflecting on February 13-26, 2019

The second half of February was filled with opportunities for the Civic Fellow to learn and teach.

We were excited to attend the first workshop of the Civic Orchestra’s collaboration with Mocrep, a Chicago-based performing art ensemble founded by Civic alumni. At the workshop, Mocrep performers guided us through exercises in which we devised original performance art pieces. To create these performances, we used our voices, our bodies, found objects, anything!

On February 16 the Civic Orchestra participated in the Chicago Youth in Music Festival, always one of my favorite events of the season. This year students from three Chicago-area music programs (The People’s Music School, Sistema Ravinia, and the Chicago Metamorphosis Project) came to Symphony Center for a morning of music-making. First the students heard the Civic musicians perform the finale of Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony led by Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra Music Director Allen Tinkham. The students split up for sectionals by instrument before reconvening as a massive, student-plus-Civic orchestra. Maestro Tinkham rehearsed the group and led a mini-performance, after which we enjoyed pizza with the students and their parents.

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The fellows had the opportunity to receive expert advice on our group projects from Jane Beachy, Founder and Artistic Director of Salonathon at Beauty Bar. Beachy helped solidify our projects from a practical and mission-oriented standpoint. Her suggestions were extremely helpful!

Midori Samson, Civic bassoon fellow 2016-2018, led a workshop on applying the ethical principles of social work to music, which is the topic of her doctoral studies. Samson led a discussion of how each principle relates to the field of music and challenged us to find ways to be more socially responsible in our musical lives. The topic prompted lots of great discussion about the ways in which the classical music world is unfair, and possible solutions to those problems.

On February 23 the Civic Orchestra played with four incredibly talented young people in the final round of the 2019 CSO Crain-Maling Foundation Young Artist Competition. This year we played with three marimbists and the winner, flutist Rosie Wang. It was inspiring to see these focused and musical students.

February 25 was a big day for the fellows because it was our very first CSO-Connect performance! Weeks of rehearsal, script-writing, choreography, and memorization have gone into this project and we were delighted to finally play the show for kids! One down, twelve to go…

By Civic Fellow and viola Rebecca Boelzner

TOP: A mega-ensemble of over 125 Civic and community music school musicians performs during the 2019 Chicago Youth in Music Festival. Photo by Todd Rosenberg.